CST takes you interactive! Here we present Part 2 of this two-part "how-to" on increasing the visibility of your practice's web site in search engines. Read Part 1 by clicking to www.cosmeticsurgerytimes.com/SEOPart1
Registering Your Site
When your site pages are properly laid out, you need to make sure search systems know about your site. The simplest and most effective way to accomplish this is to get other sites which are already indexed by the search engines to add links that point to your site. This has the dual effect of driving traffic to your site, as well as increasing the PageRank of your site on Google. If lots of other sites with a high PageRank point to your site, your PageRank increases. This is one of the factors that Google uses to determine your placement in search results. Finding other sites to agree to link to yours can take some research and time. To get the ball rolling for your site to be indexed, you should plan to register your site with search directories and search engines - either via free registration or, if you're anxious to get indexed as soon as possible, for a fee.
Search directories are also important gateways; however, they don't use searchbots to index your site. Instead, when you submit your URL (i.e., website address) for consideration, a human being may review your site to determine if it meets the criteria for inclusion on that search system. There is no guarantee that your site will be included on a directory just because you submit your URL.
To register with search engine directories, you or your webmaster will need to write an approximately 25-word description of your site, which should make use of two or three target keywords included on your site that are at least two or three words long. Including a geographic location and a specific procedure might also prove to give you the edge when people run their searches, such as "Miami liposuction" or "Detroit lower eyelid bags." At a minimum, plan to register with the top two directories that Google "spiders" regularly: Yahoo and The Open Directory Project, which is also syndicated to hundreds of smaller search engines.
Yahoo Directory Registration
Yahoo gives you a choice to submit a free listing, which may or may not be picked up and added to their directory, or you can pay $299 for an expedited review, followed by an annual fee of $299 for continued listing. The URL to register is https://ecom.yahoo.com/dir/reference/instructions
The Open Directory Project Registration
The Open Directory Project (ODP) calls itself "the most widely distributed data base of Web content classified by humans." It's actually possible -- and encouraged - for people to sign up to become volunteer ODP editors in their specialty area. The Open Directory is organized by 16 categories, which get broken down into a "subject tree," or subsets and more subsets of each category, which ultimately get broken down my regions (e.g., North America, Europe, Asia, etc.). Not all sites get accepted on The Open Directory, whose goal is for its human editorial experts to weed out useless URLs and include only the most meaningful or helpful sites in each category subset. ODP stresses that you "identify the single best category for your site" prior to submitting your site for consideration. To do this, actually visit the site at http://dmoz.org and consider where you fit best. Relevant category subsets for you site might be:Health: Medicine: Surgery: Cosmetic and Plastic: Surgeons and Clinics
Health: Medicine: Surgery: Cosmetic and Plastic: Reconstructive
Health: Medicine: Surgery: Cosmetic and Plastic: Patient Education: Liposuction
Be advised that one of ODP's 16 main categories is shopping, and this is where your site should be submitted if it sells products.
One other thing you need to do prior to submitting to the ODP is a quick search in the directory at http://dmoz.org (The Open Directory home page) to determine if your site is already listed.
When you're finally ready to submit your site, go to http://dmoz.org/add.html
Google, Google, Google
It is also possible to submit your site directly to Google, but similar to Yahoo, no guarantees are made that your site will become part of their search listings.? The URL to submit your site for possible inclusion in the Google search results is http://www.google.com/addurl/?continue=/addurl
In the "Learn More" section of at the bottom of this article, you will find links direct to the Google Webmaster Help Center with detailed information about how to create a Google-friendly site and Webmaster guidelines.
The Importance of Links From Other Sites to Yours
Getting other sites to link to your site is another key step towards increasing your placement in search engine results. For every site that links to your site, it's like a vote being cast for your site, according to Google in its online Webmaster Help Center. And the higher the PageRank is for a site that links to your site, the weightier the vote. To see a site's PageRank, you can add the Google Toolbar to your browser. How do you do this? Just do a search on Google for "Google Toolbar" and the instructions will walk you through the simple process.
To get someone to link to your site can be a challenge. You'll need to get creative about this process. To start, you might ask anyone you know to link to your site, including family, friends, employees, vendors, manufacturers, or associations of which you're a member. Mention your site in discussion forums. Perhaps someone will swap links with you. Check to see if any sites are linking to your competitors, and ask if they'll link to your site, too.
This was Part 2 of a two-part "how-to" on increasing the visibility of your practice's web site in search engines. Read Part 1 by clicking to www.cosmeticsurgerytimes.com/SEOPart1
Ms. Roche is an IT Project Manager for Advanstar Communications, Inc., publisher of Cosmetic Surgery Times. She is an Internet veteran of eight years, specializing in web site creation, management and marketing.
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